Making a Tilt Shift Lens for Cheap

A Tilt Shift Lens is a very useful type of lens to have in your camera bag. This makes it possible to create some unique and interesting photographs which look like toys. The only problem is that these lens are very expensive. The lenses can cost $1000 or more, which makes it impossible for many people to afford.

A tilt shift lens is actually a fairly simple idea. These rotate the lens of the camera slightly, which means that the depth of field is very shallow. This means that a normal photograph of a cityscape will look like it is a macro photograph of something that is very small. If you want to create similar effects while saving yourself some cash, then you can make your very own tilt shift lens. While the results might not be quite as good, it's still possible to create some great effects.

Materials Needed

  • Donor SLR Lens - Preferably an over-sized lens
  • Rubber Plunger
  • Cardboard
  • Camera
  • Lens Body Cap
  • Glue Gun

Step 1: Sourcing a Lens

You need to choose an over-sized lens which is suitable for your camera. The easiest place to source these from at the moment are on eBay. These lenses are affordable because there are many of them available.

Step 2: Preparing the Lens Cap

Take the camera body cap and use a craft knife to cut around the middle. The inside of this needs to be smooth, and you should use a file to remove any rough edges. The camera bellows will then fit onto the lens cap, which makes it possible to tilt the lens and adjust the focus. The plunger also needs to have the top cut off so that it can be stretched and fit around the lens.

Step 3: Fixing the Lens

Push the lens into the plunger so that it is secured in place. The rubber plunger should hold the lens fairly securely, however, you need to hold onto the lens all the time, otherwise it's likely that it will fall out.

Step 4: Making the Backboard

Cut a circle from a piece of cardboard. Then, using your craft knife, cut the center out of it. The center hole should be the same diameter as the lens you are attaching. The purpose of this card is to reduce the amount of reflections in the plunger.

Step 5: Assembly

Assemble all of the parts by using your hot glue gun. Glue the cardboard ring onto the plunger and then glue the lens cap into your camera. This makes it possible to fit any type of lens onto your camera.

Step 6: Using Your Lens

The hacked tilt shift lens works really well. Of course, you will need to focus manually when using this. You can then twist and bend the plunger to create some interesting effects that you wouldn't normally see. To get the most out of your new tilt shift lens, you will need to experiment and play around with it. Review all of the results so that you can learn how to use it.